Tibetan monks to share culture at Confluence Interpretive Center Aug. 26-30The Missouri-Yellowstone Confluence Interpretive Center near Williston will host a unique humanitarian project the week of Aug. 26 through Aug. 30. Two Tibetan Buddhist monks will be at the site creating an offering known as a sand mandala.
The Missouri-Yellowstone Confluence Interpretive Center near Williston will host a unique humanitarian project the week of Aug. 26 through Aug. 30. Two Tibetan Buddhist monks will be at the site creating an offering known as a sand mandala.
The monks’ visit is sponsored by the Tibetan Children’s Foundation in hopes of increasing awareness of this cultural confluence through an in-depth view of Tibetan art and culture.
The sand mandala is formed from a traditionally prescribed iconography that includes geometric shapes and a multitude of ancient spiritual symbols, and is used as a tool for reconsecrating Earth and its inhabitants. A sand mandala consists of millions of grains of colored sand painstakingly placed over a period of days or weeks. The completed work will be an intricately detailed and beautiful piece of circular artwork about five feet by five feet in size.
An opening ceremony will take place Wednesday, Aug. 26, at 2 p.m. Central Time at the Confluence Center. The monks will then begin their exacting work of drawing the line design for the mandala.
The mandala construction will begin Thursday, Aug. 27, and continue through Sunday, Aug. 30, lasting from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. The public is welcome to come at any time to view the monks at work and visit with them about their culture. Tibetan paintings and finger foods will be available for visitors to enjoy.
Visitors will be invited to participate in a consecration ceremony August 30 at 3 p.m. At that time, the mandala will be dismantled and dispersed symbolically. The remaining sand will be carried in a procession of the monks and guests down to the Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers, where it will be ceremoniously poured into the flowing body of water to disperse the healing energies of the mandala.
Located 22 miles southwest of Williston, the Missouri-Yellowstone Confluence Interpretive Center is open year-round. It is considered part of the Fort Buford State Historic Site, also managed by the state’s history agency, the State Historical Society of North Dakota. Now through September 15, its hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week. Admission is $5 for adults, $2.50 for children, ages 6-15. Children age 5 and under are admitted free. The fee also covers admission to the Fort Buford State Historic Site, located 1/2 mile west of the Confluence Center.